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National Portrait Gallery or Hampton Court Palace Art Gallery?

I am an art history lecturer who has a limited stay in London. For those who have been to both Hampton Court Palace and the National Portrait Gallery which did you prefer. Or is it possible to do both in one day.

I was thinking of Hampton Court Palace as I would very much like to view the tapestries. But then again the Portrait Gallery has a self portrait exhibition I would like to see.

Your thoughts would be appreciated.

Thank you,
Lynette

Posted by
837 posts

Disclaimer here: I haven't been to Hampton Court Palace, but I never miss the NPG when in London. It's so easy to pop in, it's well organized (oldest at the top, then circle down to newer), and it's free. There's always a temporary exhibit hanging on the first floor (separate paid ticket) and it's often exceptional.

Posted by
7124 posts

Oh I think you could easily do both in the one day.
Be at Hampton Court by 10am when it opens. http://www.hrp.org.uk/HamptonCourtPalace/planyourvisit/gettingthere
Take a South West train from Waterloo at 9:06am (Mon-Sat). https://tfl.gov.uk/plan-a-journey/
Return train departing HC at 1:54pm, arriving Waterloo at 2:31pm.
Northern or Bakerloo line to Charing Cross for National Portrait Gallery. http://www.npg.org.uk/visit.php
The gallery is open til 6pm (til 9pm on Fri and Sat).

Posted by
27718 posts

They could both be "done" in a day, as stated above, but you would not be doing justice to either.

Hampton Court Palace is an easy all dayer, especially after you have paid so much for entry.

Posted by
5465 posts

I haven't been to Hampton Court Palace, but I want to say that the National Portrait Gallery is not just a collection of dusty English peers. Like the Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C., it's at a level far above the average English portrait gallery. I have been to the Dulwich Picture Gallery, and their collection of portraits is huge but lame. I happen to have an interest in portraits of actors, but that's a small subset at Dulwich. It takes too long to get to Dulwich and back for your schedule.

I'm not as fond of tapestries, so I can't comment on that. Have you previously been to the V&A? It's not all decorative arts, and it's a very fine collection, with many special exhibitions, most of the time.

There's plenty wrong with Tate Modern, but if you have an interest in modern art, the slam is off-base. I had always wanted to see Mark Rothko's "Seagram House" suite, and he readily gave it to the Tate. Although smaller, this collection is on the level of the Pompidou. If you don't care for modern art, of course skip it. I'm sorry I missed Ai Weiwei's ceramic seeds.

Edit: typo

Posted by
3336 posts

Hey! No bashing of the Tate Modern...it's pretty spectacular if you like modern art! It's not all pieces of string hanging from the ceiling...there are thoughtful pieces as well. :)
My two cents is that if you are interested in tapestries then the ones at Hampton Court are about the best there are in the UK. They are extremely large and well-preserved.
On the other hand, the NPG does have some of the more important pieces of western painting - it's quite comprehensive over the timeline it covers and the pieces that are specifically British are iconic. "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey" brings me to tears every time. I like this museum because it's not overwhelmingly huge but it has a good representation of many painting styles over time with a nice comparison of British art and art from other places of origin as well.
NPG is free - Hampton Court has an entrance fee.
Hampton Court Palace will eat up much of a day - 45 minute train ride, at least 3-4 hours to see the palace and gardens, 45 minutes return. If you go to the NPG it will take about 2 hours if you don't linger in front of every painting (hard to do!) and you'll still be in central London with easy access to other sights.
Tough choice!

Posted by
3336 posts

...and thus the Tate MODERN contains works from just after that period onwards. Why so snarky?

Posted by
1717 posts

Hello Lynette. I liked a few of the paintings in Hampton Court palace, but I did not like Hampton Court Palace. Its rooms are small. No furniture. If you wish to see paintings of people, I think the Royal Portrait Gallery is better. And if you go to the Royal Portrait Gallery, you would have time to go to other places in London that day. (The Wallace collection, or Westminster Abbey ...).

Posted by
3110 posts

"On the other hand, the NPG does have some of the more important pieces of western painting - it's quite comprehensive over the timeline it covers and the pieces that are specifically British are iconic. "The Execution of Lady Jane Grey" brings me to tears every time."

My favorite painting too! Please note though that it is at the NG not the NPG. These two museums are powerhouses, around the corner from each other with a connecting cafe and are free.